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Cycling Trip: Columbia River Gorge or the Coast?

New York City, New...
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Cycling Trip: Columbia River Gorge or the Coast?

Hey everyone - planning a cycling trip over the Memorial Day weekend. Going to spend a few days seeing the vineyards in the Willamette Valley, and then have a few extra days. We're deciding between a two-day ride through the Columbia River Gorge, or three days going from Pacific City up to Astoria. We're torn between the two, and could really use some expert advice!

We're all intermediate-to-advanced cyclists, and we'll have touring bikes, so can't really handle much off-roading.

Thanks!

Wildwood Adventures
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1. Re: Cycling Trip: Columbia River Gorge or the Coast?

Are you new to the northwest? If so, I'd probably cycle up the gorge instead - it's a unique landscape and a very popular cycling route. I can send you some links if you'd like. The coast between Pacific City is also great, because the 3 Capes loop escapes 101, which I think really carries too much traffic to be enjoyable. North of Tillamook I've usually gone inland along the Miami river, and inland again between Seaside and Astoria. Both are nice, peaceful stretches but of course off the coast. Mostly though I would worry a bit about Memorial Day traffic.

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2. Re: Cycling Trip: Columbia River Gorge or the Coast?

Yep, we're new to the northwest. Gorge sounds really nice, but we don't want to get sidetracked on slow-moving paths because of the mass of tourists - we really like getting out into the uncharted territory, if that makes sense.

As for the coast - we'd plan on riding the Miami River Road & Three Capes, stopping in Pacific City, Manzanita and Astoria.

Does anyone know if Crater Lake and the roads around there will be open Memorial Day weekend, or not until later on in the season?

Portland, Oregon
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3. Re: Cycling Trip: Columbia River Gorge or the Coast?

I agree with ScoandPdx about cycling the north coast that weekend; lots of traffic. Besides that, there aren't many sections along 101 where you'd have the ocean views you're probably hoping for. Couple pretty good climbs too, particularly through Oswald West State Park, at least one where the the usual two-lane road is quite narrow.

Which side of the Gorge would you cycle? WA side might be better, as on the OR side I believe you'd have to ride I-84 in some sections.

One other consideration might be where/how you're planning overnight(s). You might be hard-pressed to find anything on the coast, camping or otherwise.

And just so you know, you picked one of the two most popular weekends in the year in wine country. Do you have any particular routes in mind?

Portland, Oregon
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4. Re: Cycling Trip: Columbia River Gorge or the Coast?

Crater Lake's rim road normally doesn't open until summer because it is snowbound. It isn't open now, at least. if you're ever out here in season though, it makes an incredible day ride. Actually, since it sounds like you'll have a car, I recommend looking at the country around Hood River. there are some great day rides there in both Ooregon and Washington - quiet, beautiful, and exposure to some of the best of the Gorge.

Could you contact me directly, at scoandpdx@gmail.com? We will be in NYC next month with our bikes and are looking for ideas ourselves.

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5. Re: Cycling Trip: Columbia River Gorge or the Coast?

Thanks to you both for your replies...the route we're looking at for the Gorge would go through Corbett, Latourell Falls, Shepperds Dell, Wahkeena Falls, staying overnight in Cascade Locks. Next day, I think we'd probably just turn back and retrace the route (though that doesn't sound too fun...).

For the wine country, we'd be looking to go through Sherwood, Newberg, McMinnville and Hillsboro.

But none of this is written in stone, and we're looking for some expert advice!

Portland, Oregon
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6. Re: Cycling Trip: Columbia River Gorge or the Coast?

99W through Sherwood, Newberg, Dundee and McMinnville is probably the highest trafficked wine country route, so you might instead consider 240 or NE North Valley Rd. from Newberg west (several of my favorite wineries are off NE N.Valley Rd). I'd also suggest you include Carlton in one of your days.

Another option would be the wine country generally bordered by hwys 18 (N), 99W (W), 22 (S), and 221 (E). Some very nice wineries in that area, and roads will be less busy than those further north. Plus, there's some nice hills between 99W and 221.

Gresham, Oregon
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7. Re: Cycling Trip: Columbia River Gorge or the Coast?

Cross the Columbia at Cascade LOcka and take the Washington side back to Vancouver - cross the I-205 bridge back to Oregon

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8. Re: Cycling Trip: Columbia River Gorge or the Coast?

If you are thinking of Three Capes, note that the northern section had a road closure this winter. I don't think it has been re-opened and if not, it is completely closed, not open to anybody. Be sure you check carefully!

Memorial Day is very busy on the coast and it may be raining and possibly windy as well. There will be a lot of RVs on all roads - please keep as far to the right as you can and do not ride side-by-side.

There are very few "bike lanes" on Oregon's rural roads. The white line marks the delineation between the vehicular traffic lane and the shoulder and is NOT a bike lane unless officially marked as such.

Crater Lake rim road *usually* does not open until mid to late June or sometimes later. The west rim is very narrow with barely room for two large vehicles! The east rim has wider paving.

craterlakelodges.com/press-room-247056252-81… Snow acutally looks like its not as heavy as some years.

Edited: 27 April 2013, 01:12
Troutdale, Oregon
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for Hood River, Troutdale, Cascade Locks, The Dalles, Portland, Oregon
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9. Re: Cycling Trip: Columbia River Gorge or the Coast?

Hi there and welvome to TA,

They closed the Historic Columbia River Highway this last winter and not only resurfaced but widened the old byway which is very scenic. It is much safer to ride up there now although bicyclists did the trip before. You can start in Troutdale and you would ride right next to the many waterfalls on that route.

Bicycle out to Hood River and enjoy that quaint river town. Watch some kite boarders or wind surfers or even get a bed and breakfast (they have many that cater to the kite-boarder buiness and have room to store your bike at a very reasonable price) You can find these BnBs at Marchesi Vineyards web page on the home page under lodging. They spelled out which are home to wind surfers. (you might like a lesson yourself. Big Wind offers lessons and rental equipment.) Be a little wild and mix it up!

Wherever you ride, have fun and be safe.

Best,

Mrs O

10. Re: Cycling Trip: Columbia River Gorge or the Coast?

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